More than £23.1m investment is coming to Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne through the Towns Fund.

Final business cases for five major projects have been approved by Barnsley Council's Cabinet. This means the £23.1m will now be released by the government in stages and the project can get underway.

The Towns Fund Deal is a government funded £3.6 billion opportunity for towns throughout England to bid for funds to improve skills, digital and transport connectivity, create new jobs, raise aspiration and revitalise the economic prospects of the area. Economic growth is a key part of the deal and each town can suggest how it thinks this could be achieved.

A total of 101 towns were invited to bid for up to £25m; including Goldthorpe; since the scheme launched to the public in January 2020.

An evidence-based Town Investment Plan for Goldthorpe was put together based on community and stakeholder input and submitted to the government in December 2020.

In March 2021 the government approved a £23.1m investment in the Dearne Valley to realise our Town Investment Plan.

Project summaries

Employment land

Theme: Growing Goldthorpe

Towns Fund investment will unlock the development of major employment growth in the Dearne Valley area. It will support long-term commercial development of 72.9ha of land allocated for development in Barnsley’s Local Plan.

This site was identified as ES10, located off the A635 Barnsley Road, Goldthorpe, south of the Dearne Valley Parkway. Development of the ES10 site and any planning applications submitted will have to meet the requirements of the Goldthorpe Masterplan Framework, adopted by full council on the 30 September 2021. The funding will also be flexible and will be used across the designated Towns Fund area and on other employment sites.

New employment opportunities will be created, and investment attracted into the area. This will mean more well-paid jobs for local people, and will help encourage skilled young people not to leave the town for work.

More business activity will lead to more spending in the local economy of Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne, as well as provide skills and training opportunities.

A new roundabout will provide access to the ES10 site and unlock its potential as part of the Dearne Valley Economic Growth Corridor, which you can read more about on the M1 Junction 36 webpage. Delivery of the employment land project will be a major catalyst for future economic growth.

Goldthorpe warehouse


Theme: Developing Goldthorpe

Funding will be allocated to regenerate traditional terraced streets through improvements designed to help grow people’s pride in their area and improve residents’ well-being, including physical and mental health.

This will be achieved through creating more welcoming public spaces for residents to interact with each other socially with opportunities for informal play and active travel. In addition, new affordable homes could be delivered to our low-carbon standard.

The aim is to create a healthy and safe living environment for everyone. Public consultation with residents will take place to help shape this important part of the plan.

Street in Goldthorpe

Phoenix Park

Theme: Connecting Goldthorpe and Placemaking Goldthorpe

This beautiful green space between Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe was once the site of the former Hickleton Main Colliery. This project will help enhance the park's appeal as a destination and thoroughfare between Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe.

It will also help the park achieve it's potential to support small scale enterprise and a greater level of organised community activity. A number of improvements have already been made through the initial stages of Towns Fund. Now the wider plans for the site include a new visitor hub, more play facilities, improved car parking and improved active travel links to encourage people to visit the park on foot, bicycle, scooter or wheelchair.

The investment will also help expand the education programme currently working with four local schools, extending this work to include weekends and school holidays.

Phoenix Park sculpture

Community and cultural Hub

Theme: Developing Goldthorpe

This project will develop a combined community and cultural hub within the Welfare Park. This will include the refurbishment of the existing historic Dearne Playhouse. It will also include a refreshed and reinvigorated outdoor multifunctional performance and community events space. In addition, there is improved event day parking, and business development support for the Playhouse team.

There will also be widespread engagement and consultation with young people in the area who don’t currently use what’s on offer to them such as the youth club or sports activities. This will help create activities and opportunities to interest and engage them.

Community and Cultural Hub

Heart of Goldthorpe

Theme: Placemaking Goldthorpe

This project will include a new public plaza and events area providing a central point for community activity and temporary public uses like market stalls and pop-up events. This new square will make use of the site of the former Horse and Groom public house, which was purchased by Barnsley Council as part of the first stages of the Towns Fund.

Public consultation has been carried out and further engagement with local people is continuing to help shape this new landmark space right at the heart of Goldthorpe.

Horse and Groom

Market stalls have returned to Goldthorpe offering a taste of what’s to come as part of the Heart of Goldthorpe project.

Every Monday until December, you will find a range of traders on the former Horse and Groom site from 9am to 3pm.

If you'd like to be a trader, or for more information about markets, visit our markets page.

Towns Fund early intervention projects

A series of early intervention projects have already been completed thanks to £500,000 of Towns Fund accelerated funding which was awarded for projects which could be achieved quickly in order to start the regeneration journey.

This initial funding was released before the full £23.1m grant was awarded.

All of these projects were drawn up in response to local priorities and fit into the themes identified in the Town Investment Plan.

Goldthorpe market

Theme: Growing Goldthorpe

The former Goldthorpe Market site has been cleared ready for a new use, while the market will be given a prominent new location on the high street

The former Goldthorpe Market site has been cleared ready for a new use, while the market will be given a prominent new location on the high street.

Plans to revitalise Goldthorpe Market by moving it to a prime location were made possible using Towns Fund investment.

The former market had seen significant decline over the years and the offer had reduced to just one trader. In February 2021 the go-ahead was given to clear the site and relocate it in a more prominent location on the high street as part of a new public square.

Better linking market stalls with the rest of the retail offer in Goldthorpe will encourage pedestrian footfall, reinvigorating both the market and the wider high street in Goldthorpe benefitting market traders, other local businesses and shoppers alike.

Barnsley Town Centre’s outdoor market was relocated from a fixed site into the streets five years ago and this has been a great success, both for the stallholders and the high street businesses.

The new market offer for Goldthorpe will be shaped by a consultation from summer 2021 which took views from Goldthorpe businesses and shoppers about what they want to see from a refreshed market offer.

The former market site, which is hidden from view of the main high street, will be redeveloped for energy-efficient housing.

A range of market stalls can now be found every Monday until December, 9am to 3pm, on the former Horse and Groom site.

If you'd like to be a trader, or for more information about markets, visit our markets page.

Tiny Forest

Theme: Developing Goldthorpe

The 600 saplings will be a thriving Tiny Forest within just a few years having been planted in close formation where they will compete fiercely with each other for light and nutrients

The 600 saplings will be a thriving Tiny Forest within just a few years having been planted in close formation where they will compete fiercely with each other for light and nutrients.

A new community woodland based on the Japanese concept of Tiny Forests has been planted close to the Dearne Playhouse and the area of the Town Investment Plan’s proposed cultural and community hub.

It has been designed to enhance the use of green spaces with health and educational benefits for the whole community as well as local school students who have been involved in the project directly.

A Tiny Forest is a very small, densely planted forest about the size of a tennis court. Earthwatch Europe is pioneering the initiative in the UK, using a forestry management technique developed in Japan by Dr Miyawaki in the 1970s. By encouraging the trees to grow in tightly packed formation, fighting each other for sunlight and nutrients, they will grow ten times faster than a traditional forest.

The dense, native woodland will help mitigate the effects of climate change, support urban wildlife and reconnect people with nature. This project, funded through the Towns Fund accelerated projects, will also help achieve Barnsley Council’s goal of a net-zero carbon borough by 2045.

Astrea Academy Dearne is a key partner in the project and students helped design the layout of the Tiny Forest while learning about the importance of restoring forests to address climate change at the same time.

Phoenix Park Active Travel

Theme: Connecting Goldthorpe

Work to improve the footpaths through Phoenix Park will help encourage more people to spend more time being active, enjoy the outdoors, and reduce the use of cars

Work to improve the footpaths through Phoenix Park will help encourage more people to spend more time being active, enjoy the outdoors, and reduce the use of cars.

An accessible green active travel route between Goldthorpe and Thurnscoe has been created through Phoenix Park as one of the Towns Fund accelerated projects.

Existing paths have been converted into a multi-user route suitable for cyclists, prams, pushchairs, wheelchairs and users with limited mobility.

The paths connect Goldthorpe to surrounding locations and encourage the use of green space and active travel.

Encouraging more people to take part in active travel has health and well-being benefits for local residents and also helps to shift people away from use of cars. This helps improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.

The work to the paths is part of the Goldthorpe Town Board’s wider plans for Phoenix Park.

The High Street public square

Theme: Placemaking Goldthorpe

The former Horse and Groom pub will be demolished to create a new public square which will become home to the revitalised Goldthorpe Market

Accelerated funding from the Towns Fund has enabled the purchase of a key site on the high street to create a new public square which will become home to the revitalised Goldthorpe Market.

The Horse and Groom pub will hold fond memories for many local people, however it has become severely dilapidated in the years since its closure and there was increasingly little hope of it being returned to use as a pub.

Now thanks to Towns Fund Accelerated Funding the site has been purchased and the building has been demolished. As part of the wider Towns Fund projects the site will be turned into a new public square as a focal point on the high street.

The Goldthorpe Town Board is keen to pay tribute to the history of this once thriving public house, and consultation with local residents helped gather ideas of how the Horse and Groom can be remembered and how people would like to see the square used.

Embankment Green Space

Theme: Placemaking Goldthorpe

The train mural at the Embankment at Goldthorpe

The train mural at the Embankment at Goldthorpe

Further transformation of the disused railway cutting into a diverse green space for community use has been made possible through accelerated funding from the Towns Fund.

Works have included resurfacing of footpaths, resurfacing of walls for murals, handrails, new plants, shrubs and trees.

The embankment had become an eyesore and renowned fly-tipping hot spot until a community led project sprang into action to rejuvenate it as a green space for the community to be proud of.

The embankment is now a hotbed of community engagement and education activities.

The mural at the Embankment at Goldthorpe

The mural at the Embankment at Goldthorpe

New multi-user paths being installed at the Embankment at Goldthorpe

New multi-user paths being installed


More information

Who is leading on the Towns Fund locally?

The Board is made up of community representatives, local businesses and councillors and other regional tiers of local government with an interest in the future development of Goldthorpe.

Barnsley Council is actively involved in the Goldthorpe Town Deal and provides professional and secretarial support, facilitates meetings and hosts the Towns Fund Goldthorpe website. The Goldthorpe Towns Fund Board are the steering and decision making body in developing the Town Investment Plan with ambitious ideas to transform their towns' prosperity prospects with a focus that embraces improved transport and connectivity, business, skills and culture opportunities.

The role of the Board is to:

  • Develop and agree an evidenced based Town Investment Plan
  • Develop a clear programme of interventions
  • Coordinate resources and influence stakeholders

The Board meet monthly, or as required, to discuss the development and progress of the Town Investment Plan. Find out more about the board membership, meeting agendas and minutes online.

The Towns Fund Board have created a list of Questions and Answers about the project. You'll also find posts on social media with the tag #TownsFund #TheDearne

What does it mean for Goldthorpe?

The Dearne: Restore, Renew, Regenerate. Working together to create a thriving community where people can choose to live, invest and excel.

The Goldthorpe Town Deal is bringing at least £23.1m new investment to the Dearne Valley to further enhance its economic growth, environment and heritage, improve skills and transport connectivity.

Your views have and will help shape the town's vision for the next few years, by looking to stimulate greater economic, cultural and social wellbeing.

Read the Town Investment Plan for Goldthorpe.

What area does it cover?

The geographical scope for Goldthorpe's bid to the Towns Fund covers Goldthorpe and the wider Dearne area including Bolton on Dearne and Thurnscoe.

What are the objectives?

These are the four over-arching Goldthorpe themes:

  • Growing Goldthorpe (Physical Growth)
  • Connecting Goldthorpe (Transport Links)
  • Developing Goldthorpe (Community and Social)
  • Placemaking (Public Realm / Environment)

How were the objectives chosen?

Historically much consultation has taken place in the Dearne since the Dearne Valley Renaissance Market Towns (RMT) strategy was launched in late 2005/early 2006 when it was planned to develop a sustainable development framework for the Dearne underpinned by a Dearne Towns Charter.

Consultation took place between September 2007 and June 2010 in development of a Goldthorpe masterplan. The findings from these consultations provided support for the key projects proposed within the masterplan. Common issues raised through the stakeholder consultations were:

  • Poor physical environment in the village centre,
  • The need for improvements to Goldthorpe’s retail offer,
  • Concerns around anti-social behaviour and community safety,
  • The need to improve connectivity in and around the village, along with better public transport,
  • A lack of community facilities and spaces,
  • Few local activities and facilities for young people.

Goldthorpe’s vision and strategic position within the RMT programme was to be the commercial hub and market centre for the surrounding villages and wider Dearne valley. Therefore the primary objective of the masterplan was to consolidate and improve the retail offer of the village and ensure its future viability and sustainability.

Key themes of the final masterplan were:

  • Regenerating the Village Core:
    • including public realm Improvements, creation of a public square and shop front enveloping refurbishment – part of the ambition has been realised with the 2018 launch of the Principal Towns shop front scheme available to independent businesses across the Dearne.
  • New school
    • A new larger primary school facility was required within the heart of the village to replace the inadequate existing school, and to respond to the future growth of Goldthorpe – this ambition was achieved in September 2016 when the new school opened its doors to pupils for the first time.
  • Better Housing
    • Improving the quality of housing stock and living conditions for residents within the Dearne valley, including Beever Street redevelopment and new bungalow development for older persons – part of the ambition in Goldthorpe was realised with the bungalow development on Beever Street which welcomed its first residents in 2019.
  • Green Space and Connections
    • to develop a high quality, interconnected network of spaces and a green infrastructure for visual amenity, recreational activity and ecology/habitat creation – the Embankment project in Goldthorpe is a great success story and opened in September 2019 and showcased great community spirit and dedication in transforming the once blighted area into a wonderful community space.
  • Celebrating Goldthorpe
    • Celebrate Goldthorpe’s historical and cultural heritage and create a stronger identity through new landmarks and focal points of interest

More recently in mid-2019, local community consultation was carried out by the Dearne Integrated Well-Being team and included questions to help us understand what residents loved about the area they lived, and also what they would like to see improved.

Since that consultation the Government launched #MyTown in October 2019 to give residents the opportunity to put forward their ideas on how to improve skills and transport, create new jobs and regenerate their local community.

Drawing on issues and themes raised by the local community in previous consultations already described and from #MyTown Goldthorpe, we developed a themed Town Investment Plan that addresses the concerns residents have raised, builds on the issues that are important, and one that will see Goldthorpe and the Dearne become an area where more people choose to live.

How does the Towns Fund Deal fit in with other projects in the borough?

These are the other current schemes which also aim to enhance and improve the area:

The Future High Street Fund: is a competitive fund awarded to high streets and town centres that are seeking to combat the decline of the traditional retail environment. Barnsley town centre has been identified as being eligible for the competitive funding and the Council is actively participating in the process.

Heritage Area Action Zone Eldon Street: The Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) is an exciting four-year partnership between Barnsley Museums and Historic England. It will restore and revitalise historic properties on Eldon Street, once a vibrant commercial and cultural centre for the town. The HSHAZ will work with local people and stakeholders to explore and celebrate the rich stories and heritage of Eldon Street, as part of the wider town centre redevelopment.

Heritage Area Action Zone Elsecar: launched in 2017 was one of the first Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) in the country and has been a successful three-year partnership between Barnsley Museums and Historic England. Focusing on Elsecar, a model industrial village established by the Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse in the 1790s, the HAZ has worked with local people to research and celebrate Elsecar's amazing story and the village's unique heritage. The project has also helped to guide plans for future development and established Elsecar's future potential as part of the region's growing visitor and tourism economy.  

Have your say... Your opinion counts...

Your opinion is crucial to our success: This is your opportunity to have your say.

Why is my opinion still important?

It is important that all sections of the community say how they think the town can grow and improve. The contributions of a large number of individuals makes for a better, active and more dynamic town.

Thanks to your valuable feedback and contributions so far, the Goldthorpe Towns Fund Deal is on track to help create an exciting, brighter future based on major new investment.

Further consultation based on the four themes of Growing, Connecting, Developing and Placemaking has now taken place (closed midnight on 13 September 2020) and the results can be views below in the news and updates. 

How can individuals give their opinions?

You can contribute to the social media exchanges on Twitter for Goldthorpe #TownsFund #TheDearne, give your view at the Barnsley Council Facebook site or email us at

Email and ask us to add you to our mailing list to receive updates about consultations, events and project milestones.

I have a question not answered here … how do I raise it?

By email please to

What are the Towns Fund timescales?

After an announcement that the Towns Fund programme would be granted an additional submission date, the Towns Fund Board agreed to enter cohort 2a and submit final proposals to the government by 11 December 2020.

The stages are:

  • June 2020: review of supporting evidence and further consideration and scrutiny of the project
  • July 2020: plans developed
  • August 2020: blueprint produced
  • August 2020 end: submission of the draft Towns Fund plans for Goldthorpe
  • September 2020: consultation of Investment Plan themes and working up and revision of the draft plan
  • October/November 2020: Final drafting of the plan documents
  • December 2020: the Towns Fund Investment Plan is completed and passed through our approvals process
  • 11 December 2020: the Towns Fund Investment Plan is submitted for consideration to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • 4 March 2021: £23.1m investment in the Dearne Valley approved
  • May 2021: confirm to the MHCLG which projects are being taken forward
  • April 2022: to develop and approve individual project business cases and submission of a summary document to MHCLG
  • Funding released: following business cases and submission of MHCLG summary document
  • 2022 to 2025 to 2026: project delivery

News and updates

2 June 2022 - Market stalls return to Goldthorpe

Market stalls are returning to Goldthorpe from June to December offering a taste of what’s to come when the high street is transformed as part of the £23.1m Towns Fund investment.

You will find a range of traders on the former Horse and Groom site from 9am to 3pm.

Find out more as market stalls return to Goldthorpe.

11 May 2022 - Major £23.1m investment projects for Dearne Valley

Five major projects which will help regenerate, renew, and revitalise Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne as part of a £23.1m investment have been submitted to government for approval.

Goldthorpe was one of 101 towns invited to bid for Towns Fund investment to help improve skills, digital and transport connectivity, create new jobs, raise aspiration, and revitalise the economic prospects of the area.

Towns Fund investment of £23.1m was approved in principle by the UK Government in March 2021.

Full business cases for these five major projects have now been prepared and approved by Barnsley Council’s Cabinet.  You can read the Towns Fund Cabinet report,  please note financial information has been removed due to ongoing commercial sensitivity and until all contract tendering processes are complete.  These have now been submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) who will then release the £23.1m investment.

Read more in our press release.

26 February 2022 – Heart of Goldthorpe Engagement Session

On Saturday 26 February 2022, artist Dan Jones undertook a community engagement session on the old Horse and Groom pub site in the heart of Goldthorpe.

During the five-hour session, about 25 children and 30 adults engaged in a drawing activity to sketch out ideas for the sort of new public square they’d like to see on the site. The aim was to gather ideas for the development of the site and to get a feel for the wants and needs of the community.

They did this on a large easel mounted on top of a trailer.

Their feedback will be shared with contractors who will be asked to submit their designs for the square along with the variety of feedback we’ve already collected from local residents, businesses and organisations.

Heart of Goldthorpe engagement session

15 February 2022 - New access/roundabout located off the A635 Barnsley Road, Goldthorpe

The new access/roundabout will provide access to the new employment site (ES10), providing business growth and job opportunities in the area.

Planning approval for the scheme was granted on 15 February 2022.

This was outlined in the Goldthorpe masterplan framework, adopted by Full Council on 30 September 2021 and will support the work of the Towns Fund projects.

Find out more about the M1 junction 36 scheme.

5 January 2022 - New energy efficient housing plans set for approval

Nine new properties will be the first new buildings made possible thanks to more than £23.1m investment in Goldthorpe through the UK Government’s Towns Fund. The build costs will be funded through Section 106, but the site has been made available thanks to the Towns Fund. Read more about the new energy efficient housing plans.

14 October 2021 - Demolition of former pub to make way for exciting future use

Demolition of the former Horse and Groom pub is making way for the development of a new town square as part of the £23.1m Towns Fund investment. Read more about how the demolition is making way for exciting future use.

11 August 2021 - First projects from £23.1m Towns Fund investment complete

The first wave of projects as part of more than £23.1m investment in Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne through the Towns Fund have been completed. Find out about the completed projects.

4 March 2021 - £23.1m investment in the Dearne Valley approved

Read all about the £23.1m investment in the Dearne Valley in our press release. 

16 February 2021 - Tiny Forest heading to Goldthorpe

Towns Fund investment has supported a very small, densely planted forest about the size of a tennis court to be planted at Goldthorpe. 
Find out more about Goldthorpe's tiny forest.

18 February 2021 - Goldthorpe Market on the move

Plans to revitalise Goldthorpe Market by moving it to a prime location on the high street are supported by the Towns Fund.
Find out more about Goldthorpe Market.

14 December 2020 - Town Investment Plan Submitted

The Goldthorpe Town Investment Plan was submitted to Government on Friday 11 December where it will be assessed. It is expected to take 2-3 months before the Town Board receive any feedback.

24 November 2020 - Funding bid of more than £25m for Dearne Valley to be submitted

Cabinet asked to approve an exciting and ambitious bid to secure multi-million-pound investment into the future of Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne.
Find out more about the funding big for Dearne Valley.

28 October 2020 - Results of Towns Fund 'Have Your Say' Consultation 28 August to 13 September 2020

Outcomes from the consultation were very positive and wholeheartedly supportive of the proposed themes as can be seen from the graphs below. Specific comments and suggestions left by participants have been included in the Investment Plan to demonstrate that support and show that some of the ideas generated have been carried through into project proposals.

Growing: Develop projects to facilitate more employment opportunities and improve the choice and quality of housing available in the area: 

  • 92% in favour
  • 8% against

Connecting: Develop projects to improve links to public transport and facilitate active travel (walking and cycling):

  • 87% in favour
  • 13% against

Developing: Include projects to help develop more community and social amenities:

  • 93% in favour
  • 7% against

Placemaking: Develop projects to improve the environment in the Dearne villages to create a sense of place that is well kept and cared for:

  • 98% in favour
  • 2% against

Frequently asked questions

Read our frequently asked questions.

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